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Swiss pro cyclist Gino Mäder dies after horrific Tour de Suisse crash

The 26-year-old Bahrain Victorious rider was airlifted to hospital and resuscitated after the crash yesterday at Tour de Suisse, but in a tragic turn the team revealed his passing away this morning

Bahrain Victorious has revealed the passing of 26-year-old Swiss cyclist Gino Mäder, after he was involved in a very high-speed crash on a descent towards the end of stage five of the Tour de Suisse.

Mäder was airlifted to hospital yesterday following the crash, with his team saying on Twitter that he lost consciousness following the incident. He reportedly lay motionless in the water and had to be resuscitated after falling into a ravine, although he was said to have regained consciousness by time he was taken to hospital.

However, in an extremely unfortunate turn of events, the team has announced this morning that the 26-year-old sadly passed away after sustaining very serious injuries.

Bahrain Victorious said: "It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we have to announce the passing of Gino Mäder. On Friday 16th June, following a very serious crash during stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse, Gino lost his battle to recover from the severe injuries he sustained. Our entire team is devastated by this tragic accident, and our thoughts and prayers are with Gino’s family and loved ones during this incredibly difficult time.

"Following the high-speed incident which occurred on the final descent of Thursday’s stage, the 26 year old was resuscitated at the scene by medical staff who also performed CPR, before being airlifted to hospital.

"Despite the best efforts of the phenomenal staff at Chur hospital, Gino couldn’t make it through this, his final and biggest challenge, and at 11:30am we said goodbye to one of the shining lights of our team.

"Gino was an extraordinary athlete, an example of determination, a valued member of our team and the whole cycling community. His talent, dedication, and passion for the sport has inspired us all."

Bahrain Victorious' managing Director Milan Erzen said: "We are devastated by the loss of our exceptional cyclist, Gino Mäder. His talent, dedication, and enthusiasm were an inspiration to us all. Not only was he an extremely talented cyclist, but a great person off the bike.

"We extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones, and our thoughts are with them during this difficult time. Bahrain Victorious will race in his honour, keeping his memory on every road we race. We are determined to show the spirit and passion Gino displayed, and he will always remain an integral part of our team."

Gino Mader at Giro d'Italia 2021 stage 6 (CorVos/SWpix)

Gino Mader at Giro d'Italia 2021 stage 6 (CorVos/SWpix)

The crash happened on the descent of the Albula Pass towards the end of the stage to La Punt, won by Juan Ayuso of UAE Team Emirates.

Mäder had established himself as perhaps the leading Swiss rider of his generation. In 2021, he won stages at the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de Suisse, and later that year topped the young riders’ classification at the Vuelta in 2021, a race in which he also finished 5th overall.

Last year, he was second overall in the Tour de Romandie week-long stage race, held in French-speaking Switzerland.

Ineos Grenadiers rider Magnus Sheffield was also injured in the incident, with world champion Remco Evenepoel hitting out on social media at what he saw as a dangerous finish to the stage.

In a statement posted to social media shortly after the stage finished, race organisers said: “At race kilometre 197 in the descent from the Albula Pass, two riders crashed at very high speed.

“The race doctor was on the scene of the accident within two minutes.

“Magnus Sheffield was responsive,” the statement continued. “He was transported to hospital with bruises and a concussion.

“Gino Mäder lay motionless in the water. He was immediately resuscitated and then transported to Chur hospital by air ambulance.

“The severity of his injuries has not yet been fully clarified,” they added.

In an update on his condition, Mäder’s team said that he “went off the road and fell into a ravine, where he was promptly assisted by the race doctor.

“Mäder was found unresponsive, resuscitated at the scene and then transported by helicopter to Chur Hospital.

“More news about the consequences of the accident will follow after Mäder undergo further examinations,” Bahrain Victorious said, adding that “our thoughts and prayers are with Gino.”

In an update on Sheffield’s condition, Ineos Grenadiers confirmed that the 21-year-old had sustained a concussion and would be kept in hospital under observation.

The crash was witnessed by riders including overall leader Mattias Skjelmose of Trek-Segafredo, and world champion Remco Evenepoel from Soudal-Quick Step, who took to Twitter after the stage to criticise organisers for what he saw as a dangerous finish.

"I hope all the guys that were involved in a crash are okay," he wrote.

"I hope that the final of today's stage is food for thought for both cycling organisers as well as ourselves as riders."

Saying that his "thoughts and strength" were with both riders, he added: "While a summit finish would have been perfectly possible, it wasn’t a good decision to let us finish down this dangerous descent. As riders, we should also think about the risks we take going down a mountain."

Bahrain Victorious also said that Mäder's family has requested privacy as they mourn their loss, and asked that their wishes be respected.

They said: "The team and family express our gratitude for the overwhelming support we have received from the whole cycling world.

"Gino, thank you for the light, the joy, and the laughs you brought us all, we will miss you as a rider and as a person.

"Today and every day, we ride for you, Gino."

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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46 comments

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SimoninSpalding | 1 year ago
2 likes

RIP Gino.

I think Remco has a point in that in the past I feel that there were many more stages that finished at the top of mountains. We as fans looked forward to them as they were the ones that had the potential to see gaps develop. Anything that ended with a descent was disappointing because it had chance to come back together.

I suspect the problem is that most of the time the mountain top finish doesn't result in time gaps. The fans get to see a fascinating, tactical battle that results in a nil-nil draw. The casual observer sees a 10 second clip of a group of out of breath people cycling (relatively) slowly on a news bulletin, or alternitively it isn't reported at all.

By having a fast dangerous descent even if the result is no time gaps there is some "exciting" footage for the news, and hence exposure for sponsors, the equivalent of a 5-all draw.

This is fine, but there does need to be some consideration of where crashes could occur and ensure that mitigating measures are in place.

Downhill skiers have catch fences designed to stop them whilst absorbing energy, circuit racing has crash barriers, rally cars now effectively carry a crash barrier on the outside of the car. A properly chosen cycle race route should not allow a descending cyclist to fall down a ravine and end up underwater if there is a crash.

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Rendel Harris replied to SimoninSpalding | 1 year ago
2 likes

Good points. I would add, perhaps slightly cynically, that there are very few towns on mountaintops, so a mountaintop finish removes the opportunity for the €120,000 (in the Tour) that the organisers get from towns for the privilege of hosting a stage finish.

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SimoninSpalding replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
1 like

Funny you should mention that. I was talking to a colleague yesterday who has no knowledge of cycling but had been engrossed in the Netflix Need for France or whatever it is called and his question was about how money was made and I explained the funding model of start/ finish venues paying.

"I see," he said, "does that mean they don't ride the same route each year then?"

There is still some way to go to explain our wonderful sport/ hobby/ means of  transport to the masses!

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philsinclair | 1 year ago
0 likes

I find it interesting that people are quick to criticize the race profile. We do not actually know why Gino crashed. For sure in Switzerland, we all know, and are used to mountain descents at crazy speeds. Gino would probably have known that descent. Did he have a mechanical? Did Magnus crash first? I think it better not to rush to judgement. We do not actually have clarity on where he crashed nor the circumstances. I just rode 25 km of the last 30. It was so sad seeing the organizer’s diligently preparing the last sprint placement in Türlen. R.I.P. Gino.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to philsinclair | 1 year ago
0 likes

I suspect most people critisizing the profile is taken from Remco's initial comments. As they are the people on the front line, I suspect they have more knowledge on what is dangerous or not. There are not many tour stages which have descent finshes nowadays for example. 

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SimoninSpalding replied to philsinclair | 1 year ago
0 likes

I agree, however my point was that somebody should be looking at the route and asking "what happens if a cyclist crashes here?" (this is independent of the immediate cause of the crash) If the answer is "they will plummet into a ravine and end up underwater" (as per the news reports) then they should be thinking about mitigation measures at least, if not changing the route.

From Remco's comments I inferred that he felt nobody had even asked the question.

I could be wrong, I hope I am. I hope that this was a freak, tragic accident that nobody could be expected to foresee.

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philsinclair replied to SimoninSpalding | 1 year ago
1 like

You cannot put cotton wool around all the descents that they race. Most riders recce and know the descents and train and ride on them. For sure there are newbies that have less knowledge. Part of racing in the mountains is about roadcraft. Modulating the speed to the bend. When they get it wrong unfortunately it can be costly. Remco got it wrong in Il Lombardia on the descent of the Muro di Sormano: Too fast into the bend and hit the bridge wall. I also reject the idea that a stage cannot finish with a descent. Riders have many descents and I so no reason why they cannot finish at the bottom of one. If you are pushing the limits to find 2 seconds that can cost you. The best descenders rarely crash. In my experience, all my accidents racing have happened on the flat caused by someone else not paying attention. Except a slippery bend in Majorca as I ignored advice. I still think we should not race to judgement as we do not know the facts. I am deeply heartbroken, as a Swiss and local knowledge it just seems to make it worse. I can only state the following: https://sinclair.ch/Phils_web01/Epitaph_for_a_cyclist.htm

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Rendel Harris replied to philsinclair | 1 year ago
0 likes

Looking at the point at which Mader left the road it does appear to be a pretty innocuous stretch, just after a wide sweeper with another coming up. From the look of it I'd say a mechanical might be the most likely cause. Although I've expressed reservations about having such fast downhill finishes, now I've seen the location I don't think the organisers can be blamed for not identifying it as a danger area, it's on a part of the descent which one would imagine was one of the least likely areas for a crash.  

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jaysa replied to philsinclair | 1 year ago
2 likes

I am keen to learn what went wrong, as I love descending alpine passes (as do many others here), so here's some sleuthing ...
This article shows the location of the crash, and what look like skid marks leading off the edge - yikes.
And Google Earth shows the bend concerned.
It looks like a wide sweeper with good visibility and not reducing radius.
The bend comes after a long straightish section at 8%-9%, so maybe 100km/h
You can follow it down on StreetView.
I think ravine is overstating things - its a stone-lined culvert.
They were heading East, so not sun in the eyes.
So what happened - damp road? Cow pats? Mechanical?

RIP Gino. Terribly sad...
 

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Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
8 likes

Dreadful news, RIP. Organisers should at least cancel today's stage, many riders are going to be distracted and highly emotional and shouldn't be asked to race today.

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Secret_squirrel replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
1 like

I think thats something the riders should have the final decision on.

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Rendel Harris replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
0 likes
Secret_squirrel wrote:

I think thats something the riders should have the final decision on.

Not sure about that...what if 55% of the riders vote continue and 45% not? Might be better if the decision is taken out of their hands. Obviously they must be consulted though.

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Rendel Harris replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
5 likes

Just seen that the organisers decided to neutralise the stage, the peloton will only ride the last 30 km of the route in tribute to Mader. Good decision.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
1 like

I did wonder this morning if the call to shorten the stage was actually because of a rockslide and wasn't actually because they would have been climbing up the same climb as yesterdays descent. 

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Matthew Acton-Varian replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
0 likes

The call to shorten the stage was made before the news broke of Mader's death. 

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Matthew Acton-Varian | 1 year ago
1 like

I know, but I suspect the organisers would have had a pretty damn good idea of his condition overnight. Maybe not that he would die today, but that he was touch and go. So having all the competitors cycling past the spot might have been too much. It probably was a rock slide though. 

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philsinclair replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
1 like

Let me help you, and TDS went past it yesterday: "Huge landslide narrowly misses Swiss mountain village. A large section of the crumbling mountain above Brienz/Brinzauls broke off around midnight narrowly missing the village in canton Graubünden in southeastern Switzerland." https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/evacuated-village-spared-as-enormous-rock-m...

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to philsinclair | 1 year ago
0 likes

Ta for the knowledge. Surprised the Tour wasn't diverted before yesterday then being as the Village at the base of the slide was evacuated over a month ago. 

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redimp | 1 year ago
3 likes

Very sa news. Ride high Gino

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Steve K | 1 year ago
2 likes

Terrible news.  RIP.

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leipreachan | 1 year ago
10 likes

Unfortunatelly Gino passed away. Rest in Peace.

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dubwise replied to leipreachan | 1 year ago
1 like

Shocking news, was a fan and was looking to see how he develop over the next few years.

RIP Gino

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Trevor Anderson | 1 year ago
0 likes

With Matej Mohoric's descent of the Poggio in mind, should Milan-San Remo now finish at the top of the Poggio for rider safety?

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Matthew Acton-Varian replied to Trevor Anderson | 1 year ago
1 like

1. There is still a flat run to the line after the Poggio.
2. The Poggio descent roads are fairly shallow gradients, is much shorter, and have walls and barriers preventing over-the-edge mass drops and other than the obvious hairpins have no major or sudden change in direction that catch riders unawares.
3. The Poggio (both up and down) is legendary, not because of it's size, but its pivotal effect in the race. 

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philsinclair | 1 year ago
0 likes

Where Gino Mäder and Magnus Sheffield crashed yesterday, in stage 5 of the TDS is not logical. I noted the statement that they crashed at kilometer 197. However, the start of the descent of the Albulapass is at kilometer 201.2. Therefore their crash must have happened after kilometer 201.2. I am guessing at about kilometer 207, i.e. 4 kms from the finish. I wish them both a good recoverey.

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Festus | 1 year ago
0 likes

Sorry Remco it is the riders taking chances, I watched the descent no one backed off, maybe a switch back to rim brakes might work

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Rendel Harris replied to Festus | 1 year ago
3 likes
Festus wrote:

Sorry Remco it is the riders taking chances, I watched the descent no one backed off, maybe a switch back to rim brakes might work

Remco wrote:

 As riders, we should also think about the risks we take going down a mountain

He seems fully aware of the fact that riders have a responsibility. 

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AidanR replied to Festus | 1 year ago
6 likes

It's a competition; riders need to take chances to win. It's up to the organiser to provide a course which doesn't encourage certain types of risk taking which can have terrible consequences, e.g. finishes at the bottom of technical descents with dangerous drops.

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johnsonmoog replied to Festus | 1 year ago
1 like
Festus wrote:

Sorry Remco it is the riders taking chances, I watched the descent no one backed off, maybe a switch back to rim brakes might work

How will a switch back to rim brakes help? 

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Steve K replied to johnsonmoog | 1 year ago
2 likes
johnsonmoog wrote:
Festus wrote:

Sorry Remco it is the riders taking chances, I watched the descent no one backed off, maybe a switch back to rim brakes might work

How will a switch back to rim brakes help? 

I'm guessing, but was the argument that, because disk brakes are better, riders are taking bigger risks?  A bit like the rusty spike sticking out of the steering wheel argument for safer driving.

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